Ever since I went to that conference to learn more about pulses (legumes like dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils), I have been extra-aware of how many I consume.
And I realized… I eat pulses pretty much every single day.
Honestly, I’m not just saying this, I’ve never had this easy of a time managing my weight. I haven’t said, “I’m going on a diet” in over a year and a half. And since that conference, I’ve found myself feeling more satisfied and nourished than ever.
What happened during that year and a half? Well, first off, I finally embraced the power of spiralizing and incorporated spiralized veggies into at least one meal a day – whether that’s sweet potatoes at breakfast or a zucchini noodle curry at night, I’ve found the secret: using low-calorie and low-carb veggies as pasta and noodle replacements satisfies your tastebuds while trimming your waistline.
But enough with the spiralizing PSA, you all know my love for these colorful spirals.
The second thing that has kept me at this healthy weight is consuming pulses. I never ate lentils as much before that conference, but now, I’ve found myself having them up to twice a day and the difference is noticeable: I have more energy, my weight stays put or lowers (if I increase my exercise), and I find that the food I’m eating keeps me interested. There’s just so much you can do with pulses!
I promise, I wasn’t paid to write about pulses – I just love to share my own personal tips for maintaining a healthy weight.
Most importantly, the last – and most important – thing that has helped me accept my body and become my happiest body weight is this:
YOUR HEALTHIEST WEIGHT MAY NOT BE YOUR LOWEST WEIGHT.
Now, of course, this means a lot to different people. And it’s important to understand the word “healthiest.” Healthy means a lot to different people. To some people, if they don’t have a thigh gap, they don’t think they’re “healthy.”
However, healthy to me means this: feeling happy every single day with my body and mind.
Thus, I used to think that my healthiest weight was one where I fit comfortably into a size 2 and when I wore a tight dress, I had no “lumps.” I used to think that my healthiest weight meant one where I could sit down and a little pooch wouldn’t roll over my jeans. I used to think my healthiest weight was one at the lower end of the healthy BMI range, and I used to think my healthiest weight meant one where I woke up and could feel my hip bones popping out ever-so-slightly.
Most importantly, I used to think that my healthiest weight was defined by a number: 135-140.
While I still like to use the scale to keep myself motivated and check in every once in a while (when I feel my pants getting tighter, I weigh myself), I now place more importance on the way I feel as a person than the number on the scale or how flat my stomach is.
I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life – with my career, my love life, my family, and my body – and I am not at my lowest weight (my lowest weight was in college at about 128, totally too thin for my 5’8″ curvy frame.) I enjoy birthday cake without stress, and I have that extra glass of wine “just because.”
Not only am I the happiest in those aspects of my life, I’m the happiest with my physical aptitude. I can crush a 45 minute spin class with ease, I can do burpees without dry heaving, I can curl 15 pound weights for up to 15 reps, I can do 100 squats without batting an eyelash, and I can run at least 3 miles without giving up.
Now, I realize: I don’t need to be my thinnest to be at my happiest. And happiness is more important than anything else. If you weigh your “dream weight” and you’re not happy with your life, what’s the point of reaching that number on the scale? What does it mean?
As I sit here at my parents’ place in Florida, getting ready to slip into my bikini and head to the beach, I’m finally, at almost 29 years old, okay with the fact that I have a little jiggle, because you know what? I couldn’t be happier!
My point is this, my friends: care more about your happy levels as a whole and less about reaching this sometimes unobtainable goal weight and I promise you, you’ll feel like a weight (no pun intended) has been lifted off your shoulders and you can finally breath and enjoy the things in life that matter most: spending time with those you love and enjoying what life throws your way.
Nutritional Information & Recipe
Weight Watchers SmartPoints*: 10 points
*These points were calculated using the official Weight Watchers SmartPoints calculator. We are in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers, we are providing this information based on popular demand.
Chunky Lentil Bolognese with Spiralized Sweet Potatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red or yellow onion peeled and diced
- 2 carrots peeled, diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup dry green lentils rinsed
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 medium sweet potatoes peeled, Blade D, noodles trimmed
- chopped parsley to garnish
- Heat half the oil in a medium saucepot over medium high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add in the onions, carrots, and celery and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables soften and onions are translucent. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add in the tomatoes and season with basil, oregano, salt and pepper and stir again. Add the lentils, stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a medium simmer (over medium-low heat) and cook for 30-40 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add more broth if the sauce dries out as the lentils are still cooking.
- While lentil Bolognese cooks, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add in the remaining oil. Once heated, add in the sweet potato noodles, season with salt and pepper and cook for 7 minutes or until al dente or to your preference. Divide into bowls and tent with foil or similar to keep warm while the lentils finish cooking.
- When lentil Bolognese is done, taste and adjust with more salt, if needed. Divide the Bolognese over the sweet potato noodles and garnish with parsley.